The word chiropractic means "done by hand." Chiropractic is based on a vitalistic philosophy, which recognizes simply, that life, and therefore health, is an expression of an inner wisdom -- an innate intelligence animating every cell within our genetic design.
This wisdom is a part of that same intelligence that maintains the whole of the universe in orderly and harmonious existence. Deepak Chopra, MD elucidates this idea in Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: "Intelligence is present everywhere in our bodies ... our own inner intelligence is far superior to any we can try to substitute from the outside..." Innate intelligence is the essence of life itself.
Chiropractors work with the spine, not necessarily because it's the source of neck and back pain, but because it houses and protects the central nervous system -- that system which monitors, controls and regulates all body function, allowing the body to adapt to it's environment, both internal and external. Biologists call this dynamic process homeostasis. This ability to adapt remains central to the body's ability to maintain its health and sustain life. Every vital life sustaining process, whether it's digesting our dinner or responding to potential infection, depends on the integrity of this communication network between the brain and the body.
On September 18, 1895, in Davenport, Iowa, Daniel David Palmer, through a simple encounter with a deaf janitor, named Harvey Lillard, made a profound discovery. After correcting a misalignment in the janitor's spine his hearing was restored. Unknown to him at the time, he discovered a major source of interference to the nervous system -- the vertebral subluxation. He discovered that loss of normal vertebral alignment interfered with the body's regulatory mechanism, causing what he termed dis-ease or loss of ease, setting the stage for abnormal function and disease. The basic principles of chiropractic, as discovered in 1895, have not changed and continue to be the basis for chiropractic education today.